The Process: WGS Creates Public Art For West Palm Beach Intl Airport

2 Agencies + 2 Unique Identities = 1 Integrated Artwork Solution

Detail from public art sculptures by Washington Glass Studio for West Palm Beach International Airport

Details from sculptures by Washington Glass Studio for West Palm Beach International Airport

Palm Beach County‘s Art in Public Places awarded Washington Glass Studio (WGS) the commission to design and fabricate integrated public art sculptures as part of the renovation of an existing facility for the new headquarters for Palm Beach County’s Tourist Development Council (TDC) and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (PBSO) after a Call for Artists held in 2014. The building – a five story 61,000 square foot facility is located at one the most visible intersections in Palm Beach County, adjacent to the Palm Beach International Airport and can be seen from departing and arriving flights. 

Site for public art at West Palm Beach Airport

Sites for public art sculptures outlined in Call for Artists @ Florida’s West Palm Beach Airport

Agency 1 – Tourist Development Council (TDC)

The Tourist Development Council asked that their site-specific sculpture reinforce their brand and help show that Palm Beach is a prime tourism destination in one of the top tourism states in the country. The TDC includes Discover Palm Beach County, the Film and Television Commission and the Sports Commission. The TDC also provides oversight to the Palm Beach County Convention Center and the Palm Beach County Environmental Resources Management Department and their Beach Re-nourishment Program.

Agency 2 – Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (PBSO)

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office has approximately 4,000 dedicated and professional staff that are committed to protecting the public, and enhancing the quality of life in the community while administering agency operations. The project site will house PBSO Admin services include Central Records, Human Resources, Labor Relations, Risk Management and Graphics.

WGS Director Erwin Timmers reviews the sites with representatives from PBSO and TDC in October 2014.

WGS Director Erwin Timmers reviews the sites with representatives from PBSO and TDC in October 2014.

After consulting with the different agencies, WGS began schematic design of the sculpture works and the integration of the work with the architecture of the building. WGS sought to utilize color as a strong identification element that would help define the building’s new entry sequences.

Design concepts for the site are presented and reviewed with the end users.

Preliminary design concepts for the site were reviewed with the end users.

The artwork was reviewed and modified as the project team were consulted and fabrication details were outlined. Structural details of the aluminum framework were integrated into the design. Florida has very high wind design loads that had an impact on the artwork design and working again with structural engineer Holbert Apple Associates ensured that the hurricane loads would pose no problem for the artworks. Additionally, the designs would have to allow for shipping from the Washington, DC area glass studio down to sunny Palm Beach Florida and thus the design incorporated modular aspects to allow for fabrication and shipping.

structural analysis of art

Design of the artwork included detailed structural engineering analysis.

An additional aspect for the project design was the inclusion and integration of artwork and the building’s architectural re-design. Building signage, lighting, paving, and landscaping aspects were to be part of the artist’s proposal. The original building dates from the 1980′s and offered the ideal blank slate background, and allowed for some experimentation with blocks of color that would tie the art with the architecture.

Palm Beach building façade color test study.

West Palm Beach building façade color test study.

The building artwork design contract included elements of landscape design, and WGS artists liked creating new places to have glass incorporated. Color-coordinated glass “pebbles” (surface-seeded aggregate) were mixed into the concrete paving surrounding the artwork at the base of each. With great power comes with great responsibility.

Concrete paving sample

Tourism Office concrete paving sample. The glass chips were color coordinated to the artwork.

Paving slip resistance, hurricane wind loads on glass and steel, in-ground lighting values – all were part of the artist’s control and the studio was challenged to grow and develop our knowledge base. 

Design: Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (PBSO)

The design of the PBSO artwork had to showcase how the Sheriff’s office was an important partner to the community and reflect the values of the department. Aspects of the Sheriff would be presented in bas-relief cast glass panels mounted in sturdy structural aluminum framework. The colors of the PBSO were to form the basis of the sculpted glass artwork. The greens and golds would include a stripe of blue glass that would represent the “thin blue line” that symbolizes the relationship of law enforcement in the community.

Sheriff department concept sketch.

Sheriff department concept sketch.

The location of the sculpture was important – the artwork would help define the entry to the new Sheriff’s office, and the artwork would also help shield views down along the building that are more private outdoor spaces. 

Detail of one of the cast glass panels for the PBSO artwork. The clasped hands represent helping community.

Detail of one of the cast glass panels for the PBSO artwork. The clasped hands represent helping community.

The finished work has some incredibly detailed cast panels that are works of art in and by themselves.

View of the new Sheriff Office artwork - titled "Guardian" by WGS.

View of the new Sheriff Office artwork – titled “Guardian” by WGS.

Design: Tourist Development Council (TDC)

DPB-TOURISM-RGB

Palm Beach’s Tourist Development Council (TDC) has oversight responsibility for the marketing agencies which include Discover The Palm Beaches, the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County, the Palm Beach County Film & Television Commission and the Palm Beach County Sports Commission along with the Palm Beach County Convention Center. A number of proposals were presented to the TDC and the selected version was for an illuminated 17′-0″ tower – ultimately to be located on a new plaza area at the building entry. The color palatte of the “Discover the Palm Beaches” campaign would be the basis of the artwork color direction.  The glass design direction taken by the artist team was to abstract elements from each of the agencies that make up the TDC.

The TDC artwork, titled "Guidepost" is situated on a new plaza created at the building entry.

The TDC artwork, titled “Guidepost” is situated on a new plaza created at the building entry.

The structural requirements for the artwork framework (to be made in aluminum) required a substantial cross section for the members. The strong wind loads in coastal Florida required a close supervision of the metal design and fabrication. 

Artist Michael Janis begins creation of the colorful glass inset panels.

Artist Michael Janis begins creation of the colorful glass inset panels.

 

Erwin Timmers works on the TDC art while Patricia and Audrey supervise.

Erwin Timmers works on the TDC art while Patricia and Audrey supervise.

Dave Dolan of Palm Beach County is part of the review process of the structural metal at the shop.

Dave Dolan of Palm Beach County is part of the review process of the structural metal at the shop.

The glass artwork integrated into the metal structure began in the summer of 2016. Each glass inset was coated with a special coating to protect the structure in hurricane force winds. The installation of the artwork began in late 2016 and was completed in early 2017, giving the WGS crew some time in the beautiful Florida sunshine.

Audrey Wilson and Erwin Timmers install the public art in Palm Beach, FL.

Audrey Wilson and Erwin Timmers install the public art in Palm Beach, FL.

TDC artwork reflects beautifully in the building in sunny Florida.

The artwork “Guidepost” is beautifully reflected in the building that houses Florida’s TDC.

Project Information

Address: 2195 Southern Boulevard, West Palm Beach, FL 33406

Artist: Washington Glass Studio

Design Team: Laurie Brown, Michael Janis, Tim Tate, Erwin Timmers, Audrey Wilson. With Patricia de Poel Wilberg and Ricky Barton.

Structural Engineer : Holbert Apple Assoc Inc

Washington Glass Studio Projects

Most of you know about the Washington Glass School’s extensive glass classes and the artwork, but many of you don’t know the third component of the Washington Glass Studio.  The Washington Glass Studio was established in 2001 to deliver artwork to the public realm by creating site specific art for architectural and landscape environments. Here is a highlight of a few recent projects to give a scope of what we are capable of producing.

"Gateway To Community"   Glass and steel arch for Washington, DC Ward 7. Under Construction

“Gateway To Community” Glass and steel arch for Washington, DC Ward 7. Under Construction

We are currently finishing a commissioned public art sculpture in Washington, DC’s Ward 7 - in front of the Unity Parkside Health Clinic and across the street from Caesar Chavez High School. This sculpture will be one of the first public art projects in Ward 7. Consisting of a 16 foot high tri-sided glass covered arch, the entire concept was derived from meeting with the community in the Kenilworth neighborhood.

The residents of the community participated in the creation of the glass elements for the public artwork sculpture.

The residents of the community participated in the creation of the glass elements for the public artwork sculpture.

Made up from steel tube sections the steel framework is clad in covered in colorful kilncast glass panels bolted to the structure. Over 300 tiles were required to complete the structure. These 300 tiles we all hand made by volunteers in the community surrounding the arch. The artwork will be internally illuminated with LED lighting throughout the sculpture. Installation is set for end of May/early June.

The Architect of the Capitol provides design direction for the historic Library of Congress Adams Building.

The Architect of the Capitol provides design direction for the historic Library of Congress Adams Building.

Of our recent public art works, the most acclaimed is our cast glass doors for the Library of Congress’ Adams Building. The original doors were cast bronze from the early WPA days. They were designed by Lee Lawrie, who is most known for his designs at Rockefeller Center in NYC. The original bronze bas-relief doors had ceased to be functional years ago, and the entrances were not up to current safety and security code. In a moment of courage and insight, one of the architects of the Architect Of The Capital’s office realized that if the bronze doors were redesigned with glass replicas of the original bronze bas-relief, then he could bring them up to code and increase safety, for much less money.  We then took on this multi-year project, with spectacular results.

LOC.photo.1 good.finished

There were 6 sets of these doors, facing the east and west sides of the Adams Building. American Craft Magazine did a feature story on our work for the Library of Congress and its process – click here to jump to the magazine’s article online.

A smaller scale work was created for the charity organization “Food and Friends” new outdoor park. We made a cast glass Donor Wall that was to honor those who have passed away, to support to charitable work of the organization and to encourage donors to participate. Bas-relief cast glass panels in complementary colors set into a steel framework allows light to pass thru the memorial wall and create colors and patterns on the surrounding plaza. The nature of the glass panels encourages tactile investigation and contemplative interaction.

Food and Friends organization commissioned an outdoor donor wall for their park alongside their Riggs Road facility.

Food and Friends organization commissioned an outdoor donor wall for their park alongside the charity’s Washington, DC facility.

Lastly, one of our most distinguished works was for the Safeway supermarket Bethesda, Maryland. The original store was to be demolished to make way for a much larger structure with parking on the ground floor. As the grocer was committed to Green building, the new structure was to be the first LEED certified grocery store in Montgomery County, and we integrated eco-friendly materials, using recycled glass from the demolished store and re-purposing them to make the new glass and steel ground level building façade. The ground floor building skin was designed to conceal the parking garage function without completely enclosing it.  Here is the result:

Glass recycled from the original site's building was incorporated into Safeway supermarket's first LEED certified building in Montgomery County, MD.

Glass recycled from the original site’s building was incorporated into Safeway supermarket’s first LEED certified building in Montgomery County, MD.

This is only a fraction of what we have competed and what we are capable of doing. No job is too large or too complex. Our architectural design and technical team work well with architects and designers. We are currently looking for additional projects, so let us know in case you know of any, or know someone who might!

New DC Public Art Project Announced!

Glass archway proposed by Washington Glass Studio for DC’s new Unity Parkside Health Care Center.

The Washington Glass Studio was recently awarded the DC Commission on the Arts& Humanities’ Public Art commission for an outdoor sculpture located at DC’s new Unity Parkside Health Care center, now under construction. The new health center is located just down the road from the Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens, a National Park Service site that boasts some of the most beautiful water lilies and lotus flowers in the months of June and July. 


Architectural rendering of the finished Unity Parkside health care center in Ward 7.

The Washington Glass Studio proposed making a 16 foot high arch of colorful glass and images of healing. 

Inspired by the comments from the community meeting and site review– our objective was to create a sense of place for DC’s Kenilworth – Parkside community.

The design and documentation of the artwork was to be outlined in detail in the presentation.
The site in early May, 2013. The mound of dirt is the artwork location.

The fabrication work for both the glass and the steel framework will soon start. Completion is targeted for early 2014.

Audrey Wilson works on constructing the half-scale maquette created for the presentation to the Council.

Washington Glass Studio sends a big thank-you to the DC Creates! Public Art Program selection committee, the DCCAH Council, Unity Parkside Health Care, and the Ward 7 community!

US Library of Congress’ New Cast Sculptural Glass Doors

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Aerial view of US Capitol on the Mall, Washington, DC. Library of Congress is center bottom of photo.

The Washington Glass Studio (WGS) has started the creation of the new cast sculptural glass doors for the Library of Congress (LOC) in Washington, DC. The design of the project started in 2004, when the Architect of the Capitol (AOC) first asked WGS about advise on their initial proposal to replace the original historic bronze doors of the LOC Adams Building, as the doors required security and changes to be code-compliant. The AOC also sought to reference the artistic heritage of the original doors in this important United States building.

One of the original bronze door pairs by sculptor Lee Lawrie

The original (11′-0″H) bronze doors had functional issues and will be retained in their present hold-open position, recessed into architectural niches. The 16 sculpted bronze doors feature high-relief sculptures by American artist Lee Lawrie, whose best known work is the architectural sculpture on and around New York’s Rockefeller Center. Lawrie’s bronze doors were designed to commemorate the history of the written word, depicting gods of writing as well as real-life Native American Sequoyah. 

Lee Lawrie,  1877-1963,  American sculptor, best known for his architectural work at NY’s Rockefeller Center, especially for the free-standing “Atlas” sculpture.
Ogma and Sequoyah, sculpted bronze figures by Lee Lawrie. Door detail, Library of Congress John Adams Building, Washington, DC.
The original bronze figures depict:

The new door design incorporates cast glass panels mounted within a bronze framework,  incorporating current egress and security requirements. The kilnformed sculptural glass will be made from molds taken off the original door sculptures. Using clear Bullseye glass to cast, the sculpted glass panels will then be laminated to tempered glass for safety. The new glass doors will create a contemporary luminosity to the building entrances, while keeping the character of the historic landmark structure.

original bronze doors - east side  (top)
Design of new bronze and cast glass doors – west side (bottom)

The scale of the project has prompted a collaboration between Washington Glass Studio and Fireart Glass Studio in Portland, OR. The project “dream-team” includes (Bullseye Glass co-founder) Ray Ahlgren, Erwin Timmers, Michael Janis, Tim Tate and Sean Hennessey. 
Master mold caster, Sean Hennessey, has started the project, creating the molds from the existing bronze doors in-situ. Some photos of that process will be posted later.